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Nordegg, Settlement

Nordegg was named after its founder, Martin Cohn, who changed his name to Nordegg in 1909. Cohn came to Canada (May, 1906) on invitation from Colonel Onésiphore Talbot, a Canadian Member of Parliament who believed Cohn was the type of man Canada needed.

In 1907, D.B. Dowling, of the Geological Survey of Canada, guided Martin Cohn to coalfields Dowling had looked at previously, along the Bighorn, North Saskatchewan, and Blackstone Rivers. The German Development Company bought these, and the Kananaskis coal claim.

At this time Cohn changed his name to Nordegg which, in German, indicates "north corner." In 1911, the Nordegg coalfield was discovered. Building a rail line into this field, instead of South Brazeau, would save millions in construction costs. The Nordegg field was chosen for development, and as headquarters for Brazeau Collieries.

Martin Nordegg planned his town in a semi-circle, following the Canadian Northern Railway's Township plan for their neighborhood in downtown Montreal.

In 1914, approximately 100 homes and many commercial buildings were constructed. Beginning in 1914, all Nordegg buildings, including homes, had electricity generated at the minesite. Not even Alberta cities were fully electrified at that time.

In June, 1915, Martin Nordegg, as a German citizen, was asked to move to the United States during WWI. Canada was at war with Germany and Martin was a German. He returned in 1922 after World War I. This began the eventual disintegration of the dream of a western Alberta mining empire.

In the 1950s, railways began converting to oil and diesel, and coal markets declined. Brazeau Collieries, and the town of Nordegg, closed in 1955. In 1963, a minimum-security prison was set up in Nordegg, remaining until late 1994. Today, Nordegg is considered a National Historic Site of Canada. Visitors are welcome to discover the area as it is now and find out more about its past.

Unballasted Railway

Unballasted Railway

Brazeau Collieries

Brazeau Collieries